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Vajpayee urges world leaders to stop Taliban demolition
(New Delhi, March 2)

PRIME MINISTER Atal Bihari Vajpayee has written to world leaders about the reported decree of the Taliban militia in Afghanistan to destroy all statues in that country including Bamiyan Buddhas, describing this order as a "disquieting development".

In letters to leaders of US, UK, France, Japan, Russia, China, South Korea, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and the UN Secretary General, Vajpayee stressed that "the collective voice of humanity be raised against this outrage and that the Taliban be made to see reason."

He said "we should also take up this matter with those countries that have influence with the Taliban so that they too could intervene to seek the withdrawal of the decree," an external affairs ministry statement said today.

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have accorded recognition to the Taliban regime though Riyadh has since downgraded its ties with this set up.

Vajpayee said the reported decree "represents a further obscurantist regression - an assault on centuries of Afghan tradition and upon an irreplaceable civilisational inheritance of all mankind. We are disturbed to see that this demolition is already in progress," he said.


Updated: 3-3-2001

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